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AIIB annual meeting closes with 3 new members

All News 14:07 June 18, 2017

JEJU, South Korea, June 18 (Yonhap) -- The second annual meeting of the China-initiated Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) closed Sunday on South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju.

The multinational lender, set up in 2016 to fund infrastructure projects in Asia, adopted resolutions accepting three new members -- Tonga, Argentina and Madagascar -- bringing its total approved membership to 80.

The bank said the three prospective members will officially join AIIB once they complete the required domestic processes and deposit the first installment of capital with the bank.

The three-day meeting at the International Convention Center was attended by about 2,000 including delegations from both 57 founding members and 20 new members, international organizations and academia, as well as businessmen, financiers and journalists.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in offers his opening remarks at the annual meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank held on South Korea's southern resort island of Jeju on June 16, 2017. (Yonhap)

"The AIIB annual meeting here is meaningful in that it is the first annual meeting outside China," a finance ministry official said.

The attendees included over 20 finance ministers of the 77 approved AIIB members, such as Australia, China, Georgia, India, Indonesia and Laos, according to South Korea's finance ministry.

AIIB, initiated by China, is a multinational institution aiming to spur Asia's economic growth through infrastructure investment. It has so far approved 16 projects worth $2.5 billion.

The AIIB meeting here also marked the first international meeting attended by new South Korean President Moon Jae-in since his inauguration May 10.

South Korea joined the AIIB as one of its founding members with a 4.06 percent stake. China owns 32.3 percent in the AIIB, followed by India with 9.08 percent, Russia with 7.09 percent and Germany with 4.87 percent.

Participants pose during the opening ceremony of the second annual meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) at a convention center on South Korea's Jeju Island on June 16, 2017. The three-day meeting was attended by representatives of the 77 AIIB member countries, and some 2,000 businessman and journalists from around the world. (Yonhap)

For Seoul, the international meeting also came as Beijing is flexing its economic muscle against Seoul in protest of the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.

China, South Korea's largest trading partner, has imposed restrictions on South Korean imports and banned the sale of group tour packages to South Korea. These actions are seen as apparent economic retaliation over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system in South Korea.

Seoul and Washington deployed the THAAD battery as a means to counter North Korea's evolving nuclear and missile threats. But China has repeatedly expressed opposition against the U.S. anti-missile system out of concern that the deployment could hurt its security interests.

The first AIIB annual gathering was held in Beijing in 2016, and the third meeting will be held in Mumbai, India, in June 2018.


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